Posted by Wes Brooks on May 15, 2017
President-Elect Paula Brahan presided over the meeting in Jaclyn’s absence. Thanks to Mike Ratliff who gave the invocation and to Joe Meador who led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Thanks also to Chris Dunkley and Richard Topp who served as our greeters today.
Paula welcomed Khadijah Muhammad who is a guest of the club and a potential new member. There are no visiting Rotarians.
Paula noted that the District is also looking for RYLA applicants. If you know of a rising senior please get with Angela Herzog and complete the application in the near future. The District Conference will be held in Mobile May 19-21. Help will be needed to work the Food Fest.
Paula then introduced our own...
...Ryan Kelly who is our guest speaker today. Ryan recently began working with the Mississippi Telehealth Association (MTHA). According to Ryan Governor Phil Bryant in 2004 led to the formation of MTHA in an effort to ensure that Mississippi is on the leading edge of telehealth. The mission of MTHA is to provide a statewide forum for the purposes of developing telehealth related policies and programs designed to improve healthcare for Mississippians.
The Mississippi Legislature in 2015 passed legislation that requires insurance companies to cover telehealth services if it is the same service and of equal quality as an in-person doctor. Mississippi is one of the first five states in the nation to make this requirement.
Ryan says there are basically four components of telehealth. One is the direct patient to provider connection. An example he used is a small rural hospital somewhere in Mississippi sees a patient in the early hours of the morning and the attending physician is unsure if the diagnosis is a heart condition or some other less threatening condition. The rural provider can connect directly with a telehealth center, share the symptoms and patient history and usually get a more accurate diagnosis. If they patient can be treated at the rural hospital rather than being transported to a major medical facility, health care costs are significantly decreased.
The second component of telehealth is the kiosk version. For a cash payment you can visit a kiosk in a local store, connect with a health care provider and share your symptoms, get a diagnosis and have a prescription written to the store.
A third component is clinic to facility. Many larger self-insured corporations use this service. They have an in-house clinic which has the capability of connecting to a larger healthcare provider. An employee can visit the clinic, have their vitals uploaded, get a diagnosis, get a prescription and hopefully get back on the job within an hour. This form of telehealth is reducing absenteeism.
The fourth component is Omnicare management. A patient with two or more chronic illnesses can qualify for this Medicare and Medicaid covered healthcare. The patient is monitored and the telehealth provider can contact the patient when there appears to be a problem. By catching a potential problem and treating it early, emergency room visits will be decreased.
Ryan says that although telehealth may not be a silver bullet for every health condition it will reduce healthcare costs, hopefully keeping insurance premiums and government funded healthcare from increasing so rapidly. Although telehealth is slightly more expensive for each individual participant, the overall reduction in ER visits and the reduction in other more expensive treatments will hold health care costs down.
In Mississippi, a patient who participates in telehealth must have a written agreement with the provider and must have a patient profile on file. Mississippi is one of a few states in the nation that allow for audio only telemedicine. Telehealth providers must also be licensed to practice in the state of Mississippi, reducing the concern of some that local providers will lose touch with their existing patients.
To learn more about MTHA or telehealth, visit their website at
With no other business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned by Jaclyn with our motto, “Service Above Self”.